The Explore Air 2 and Cricut Maker both come with double tool holder that can hold two tools at the same time. This allows you to cut and draw, or cut and score, without changing tools between functions. Each side of the tool holder has a clamp to securely hold the tool in place. The left tool holder is labeled A (for Accessories) and the right is B (for Blades):
Accessories such as pens, makers or the scoring stylus, go in Clamp A.
The white accessory adapter comes preinstalled in Clamp A. It is used to secure the pens, markers or scoring stylus in place. To install a pen or the scoring stylus, unlock Clamp A and press your pen in until you hear a click. The accessory adapter does not need to be removed, just install your tool into it while it’s in place:
All types of cutting tools, including blades, rotary blade, knife blade and scoring wheel, go in Clamp B:
While the Scoring Wheel is not a blade, it is used for scoring lines in paper, it does have a gear mechanism at the top that the machine uses to control the wheel, much like a blade. Due to this, you install it in the right hand side like a blade.
The Fine-Point blade comes stock with the Explore Air 2 and Cricut Maker machines. The blade housing is available either gold or silver in color (both are the same). This blade was previously called the Premium German Carbide blade and is the standard blade to use with your machine. The fine point blade was designed to make intricate cuts on a variety of thin to medium-weight materials such as cardstock, vinyl, iron-on and more. The blade has a 45-degree point and can handle most of your normal cutting needs.
If you are not achieving the cuts you desire, the blade maybe dull and you may need to change it out. To change any of blades above, remove the blade housing from the machine by unclamping Clamp B and pulling the blade housing straight up. To remove the blade, depress the plunger at the top of the blade housing and the blade will protrude from the bottom. Carefully remove the blade by pulling it down and out of the blade housing.
Caution: the blade is sharp! To put the new blade in, remove the protective cover from the new blade and then carefully drop the new blade into the blade housing. Ensure the blade end is facing outwards. A magnet inside the blade housing will hold the blade in place. Replace the blade housing in the machine and close the Clamp B. Put the protective cap over the dull blade for disposal.
The Deep Point Blade was designed to cut thicker materials such as magnet paper, chipboard and thicker cardboard. This blade has a 60 degree angle and is made of harder, more durable steel than the fine point blade. The Deep Point blade must be used with the Deep Point blade housing and cannot be put in other blade housings.
The Bonded Fabric Blade was designed to cut bonded or stabilized fabric. This blade is made from premium German carbide steel and works best with the fabric grip mat.
The Scoring Wheel was made to work exclusively with the Cricut Maker machine. While the Scoring Wheels don’t necessarily replace the Scoring Stylus, you may find it works better than the Stylus for your projects. The Scoring Wheel is actually two tools in one! There are two heads included with the Scoring Wheel: the single scoring wheel and the double scoring wheel. To change between the two wheels, press the plunger on the top of the housing and remove one wheel to replace with the other. Aside from noticing the number of ridges on the wheel itself, you can tell the difference between the two heads by looking at the number engraved on the head near the blade.
Each head has its particular uses. The Single Scoring Wheel is best for delicate or thin materials, such as paper, cardstock and acetate. The Single Scoring Wheel works similar to the Stylus, but results in deeper, more consistent score lines. The Double Scoring Wheel is best for thicker materials, such as chipboard, thicker paper, cardboard or poster board. The Double Sore Wheel creates two score lines parallel to each other. The advantage of two lines right next to each other is that this allows a clean fold between the two lines. This helps prevent cracking or tearing of your material when you fold it.
If you are using a thicker material, put the printed or “top” side of your paper face down. Mirror your design and cut and score it upside down. This will ensure your score lines are on the right side of your material and allow for proper folding. When your project requires cutting and scoring, you will put in the Scoring Wheel first, the Maker will score your project, then put in the blade to cut. The Maker will direct you to which scoring head to install, depending on the material selected.
While the Scoring wheel is more a tool than a blade, it does install like a blade, so it was included in this section. Depending on your project, you can use any of the cutting mats with the scoring wheel. For delicate projects such as origami, you may want to use the LightGrip Mat. For poster board projects, the StrongGrip mat may work better. The Scoring Wheel works much like the Rotary Blade, in that it rolls and doesn’t drag your material, so your only real concern is holding your material in place and using the appropriate mat for cutting that happens after you score the material.
From Left to Right: Standard Blade & Housing (green), Deep Cut Blade & Housing (blue), Scoring Blade & Housing (purple), Cricut Cake Blade & Housing (white).
While these blades are less often available, they are worth mentioning. These blades and blade holders were made for the previous models of machines, before the Adaptive Tool System was created. They are not interchangeable with the blades made specifically for the Explore Air 2 or Maker machines. They are both shaped differently and colored different to distinguish them from newer model machine blades.
Note that these blades will not work with more recent version of the machines. Ensure you purchase the correct blade housing and blades for your model of machine.
Looking for even more information about blades? Check out the Cricut Rotary Blade and Cricut Knife Blade.
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